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Tuesday 17 October 2017

Cork joy at Lenihan's Ireland call-up

Brian Lenihan
Brian Lenihan

CORK CITY boss John Caulfield insists that Hull City defender Brian Lenihan's call-up to the senior Ireland squad by Martin O'Neill is not a snub for the domestic league but is instead a vote of confidence.

With defensive cover lacking due to an injury to Seamus Coleman, O'Neill yesterday called up Lenihan (pictured below on left), who moved from Cork to Hull in a €200,000 deal before the last transfer window closed.

While the summons to the senior squad is a massive boost for the 20-year-old, it has sparked questions, especially as O'Neill admitted that he hadn't seen Lenihan first-hand and was guided by positive reports on the player from his Irish team-mates at Hull.

Paul McShane, who had been on stand-by for the squad, must wonder what he has done wrong, along with recent U21 cap Matt Doherty, who has been in excellent form at right back for Wolves this season.

MATCH-FIT

Seeing as Lenihan has played just one reserve game for Hull since his last appearance for Cork eight weeks ago, it remains to be seen how match-fit he is and some have wondered how a player can win a place in the Ireland squad so soon after a move to England, but Cork boss Caulfield has no issue.

"The standard between our league and the Premier League in England is massive. What it shows is that we have had a lot of players come through this club who have gone on to huge achievements. The thing about Lenny is that a local player has come through got a great move," said Caulfield.

"You need to get that move before you can get recognised for the international squad. Someone asked me earlier if Brian had improved that much in six weeks. We all know he hasn't but his status has improved and it's about status and image.

"If we had foreign managers in charge of the Irish team he wouldn't be called up but with Martin O'Neill in charge and the Roy Keane connection, that's helpful for Lenny and it's a massive honour.

"We are all delighted for him," concluded Caulfield.

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